NSW Premier Mike Baird has rescinded the knee-jerk decision to kill the greyhound industry, admitting he “got it wrong”, but has less sympathy for liquor and hospitality.

dog-licking-mike-baird_lr_smlYesterday Baird blankly admitted “We got it wrong, I got it wrong, cabinet got it wrong, the government got it wrong,’’ as he announced a change of heart on shutting down the greyhound industry, reportedly due to overwhelming public outcry.

“We firmly believed the government’s decisive response to the animal cruelty outlined in Justice McHugh’s report was the right one – but we misjudged the community’s response to that report,” said Baird in an announcement.

“It’s clear the community agrees that the cruelty must end, but we underestimated the community’s desire to give the greyhound industry one last chance to reform and conform to the highest standards of animal welfare.”

The ‘one last chance’ involves mandatory bans and greater jail terms for live baiting, life registration for all greyhounds, better regulator resources, and an independent regulator – a five-chair panel expected to include government and industry representatives, as well as the RSPCA.

This as the RSPCA released results of a survey just days ago that found 77 per cent of people in metropolitan areas and 59 per cent of people in rural areas supported the Government’s decision to ban the sport, which employs hundreds of people in NSW.

Tabcorp welcomed the news to release the hounds, which it said in a recent ASX announcement represented five per cent of its wagering turnover.

Following a comment on Nova FM yesterday about “concerns in terms of what it has done to the live music industry”, excited media saw a sure-fire opportunity for the Premier to now “backflip” on the controversial trade restrictions on Sydney and Kings Cross venues and the State’s bottleshops. So far this remains only speculation and is likely to merely endorse implementing the unimpressive recommendations in the almighty Callinan review.

Media scuttlebutt bodes a complete reversal of the enigmatic 10pm bottleshop closure, reverting it back to midnight. This would certainly be welcomed by the many thousands of businesses and employees involved in the legal sale of takeaway liquor, but won’t help the venues nor the rapidly fading vibrancy of the Sydney CBD.

Consolation prize for pubs and nightclubs is the carrot of an extra half-hour tacked onto the lockout and cease-trade regulations, but only for venues that meet the criteria for definition as ‘live entertainment’. There is some speculation this definition could be broadened to include recorded music, potentially including those with DJs as well as bands.

Keep Sydney Open – fresh after their public-rallying march through Sydney on Sunday – says it is not enough. “It’s not going to increase vibrancy within our inner-city precincts. It’s not going to invite people back,” said KSO’s Tyson Koh.

play-till-my-bed-time-not-mike-baird-timeThe openly Christian Baird slapped the termination notice on the greyhound industry amid proclamations of systemic cruelty and mass culling of unviable pups.

It remains to be seen what compassion is extended to Sydney venue owners, despite dozens of pubs and clubs closing and losing millions as patronage in the city languishes under the 1:30 ‘go to bed’ time.


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